Reference implementation

Neal Gafter neal at
Sat Oct 31 17:20:57 PDT 2009

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Reinier Zwitserloot <
reinier at> wrote:

> Neal: as I mentioned, the source statement may not have any effect, other
> than generating a warning or 'not compatible with this version' error. For
> the smarter compilers that know how to deal with it, it's the compiler that
> decides to use a different version of the JLS when compiling the source
> file
> - not a dictate written in the JLS.

The language should not be based on "whatever the compiler understands", but
rather vice versa: the compiler should be made to understand what is
described in the language specification.  Some languages - for example,
Groovy and Ruby - take the opposite approach, and that is fine for them.
But Java has always taken a strong position that there should be one
language that does not vary from implementation to implementation.  Sun
licenses the Java trademark in a way that enforces that unity, and I would
not advocate changing that.

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